丁寧さ. From social politeness ("please", "thank you", etc) to the technical Japanese grammatical concepts of honorifics and respectful and humble forms known as "keigo".

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Reason to late office in politely?

How to tell manager when late by traffic jam? Is it ok to say すみません、交通渋滞できから遅きます。
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101 views

What to say when answering the phone

I'm often unsure what to say when answering the telephone when I am the customer; people usually say their name and then wait for me to say something before stating their business. I'm guessing there ...
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1answer
77 views

What are the meanings of ました, ます, and ません?

What are the uses for ました, ます, and ません? For example with the word, ありがとう, what are the differences between ありがとうございました, ありがとうございます, and ありがとうございません? Also, is it possible to properly use どうも as a ...
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3answers
240 views

Saying “you're welcome” at the workplace

There are a few ways to say "You're welcome". Which is the best for somebody in the workplace (inside and outside the team and of about the same level as myself) どういたしまして いいえ いえいえ others?
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2answers
142 views

In Japanese, how do you say you will skip ahead past one section for time's sake while reading aloud to an audience?

How do you succinctly say that you are going to skip ahead past the next section or paragraph for time's sake and tell the audience which spot you are picking up again when reading a paper aloud at an ...
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2answers
219 views

Polite way to ask about something that I previously requested

Say I have the sentence below about papers I requested previously. (as I am reminding somebody that I haven't received something) 先日{せんじつ}に頼{たの}んだ書類{しょるい}ですが・・・ Is there any way to make a ...
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50 views

Is いけません used as an interjection like いけない?

Realizing you've left your money at home when you're out to buy something, (I think) you can say いけない!お金ない; could you, politely, say いけません!お金がありません? (I suppose, for that matter, my question could ...
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102 views

Using 尊敬語・謙譲語 but not 丁寧語 on the same target

I was reading this passage from 下町ロケット (pp 15-16): 「申し訳ないなあ、忙しいときに来てもらって。というのも、今日は折り入ってお願いがあってねえ」 徳田{とくだ}は、トレードマークの鷲鼻を指でさすりながら、佃{つくだ}にソファを勧めた。新しい会計年度がはじまって間もない、四月第三週のことである。 ...
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106 views

僕 in 敬語 - is it possible?

With 丁寧語, it's very possible - 僕が行きます is a perfectly normal thing to say. But what of 僕が参ります? Would that sound odd? 私が参ります would be more normal, I think, but is 僕が参ります possible at all?
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144 views

Can using ある in place of いる be offensive?

Considering that ある is objectifying wouldn't it be offensive to use it in いる's place when talking about a person, or would it just be seen as a mistake?
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1k views

What is the polite way to say, “move?”

My grandma always says, "そこ" when she wants someone to move, -usually she just says that to my mom or me- but I have heard that that translates more as a brusque, move than an, "excuse me". Would I ...
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1answer
509 views

How are twins addressed by their teacher at school?

If two twin brothers attended the same class, how would their teacher address each of them to indicate to whom they were speaking to, since they shared the same family name? Would one be seen as the ...
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1answer
111 views

Polite/nice way to ask for a language exchange partner

日本の言語パートナーを探して。 Is what I currently came up with but I think it is much to direct. I want to express something like this: "I would be very pleased to find a Japanese language exchange partner" ...
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93 views

(美化語)なさい - sound

The difference between (連用形)なさい and (美化語)なさい is rather clear; the first would only be used for social inferiors, and the second can be used for social superiors (it's also part of set expressions ...
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120 views

How does 「から」 work in regards to 「だから」 and 「ですから」?

I'm confused at how から works, and there's very little information on this subject. だから is used in front of a な adjective or noun. い adjectives simply use 「から」. Verbs can be in ます form, and only use ...
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95 views

Situational use of politeness

I am often confused on which level of politeness to use between people who are relatively close. For example, let say I am talking when a friend in Japanese and we use plain form. Although a close ...
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1answer
652 views

Thank you note to Japanese professor

I just finished an introductory Japanese class, and the class bought a small gift for the professor. I'm planning to drop the gift off at the professor's office, so I need to write a brief tag saying ...
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1answer
471 views

How to ask someone to do something for you

I'd like to know how to politely ask someone (as a question, not a statement) to do something for me in Japanese. I'm already aware of the basic "___をください" and "___をおねがいします" patterns, but I don't want ...
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2answers
345 views

くだけた日本語 towards people you dislike?

Is this used ONLY amongst family and close friends or can you use it when you're trying to be rude? For example if you use it on someone you don't like such as a stranger, could it be understood ...
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134 views

Adjective negation: difference between 〜くない and 〜くありません

What's the difference between 〜くない and 〜くありません? Both are added to an i-adjective (イ形容詞, verb type adjective) to make it negative. For example: 寒くない 寒くありません But what's the difference? Is one more ...
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1answer
66 views

Answering exams in Japanese

When you are taking up an exam that is not written in 丁寧語 but rather in dictionary form, and it requires a brief answer from you (for example, the problem you have to answer is simply 「理由:」 ), are you ...
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1answer
144 views

How do you ask if you are understood without being rude?

For example explaining to an acquaintance or a stranger something, but I don't know if it's understood or not and would like to ask. In English I would say something like "I'm sorry, was my ...
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Use of です after informal verb conjugation [duplicate]

The following sentence I saw confuses me: わたしは すしが たべられないです。 So it takes the verb たべる (to eat), turns it into the potential form たべられる(to be able to eat) and then conjugates it in to the ...
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211 views

Help with Kenjougo!

I'm trying to come up with a polite introduction. Hajimemashite. Watashi wa Megan to moushimasu. Tekisasu kara mairimashita. watashi wa kentakkii-shuu ni sunde orimasu. Sumimasen, watashi ...
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3answers
762 views

Is it polite in Japan to ask if someone speaks English? (英語を話せますか?)

As preparation for my trip, I am re-learning my Japanese. I imagined a scenario which I am not sure if it is okay to ask. Is it polite to ask someone if they speak English or are people offended by ...
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1answer
222 views

How to ask for something, formally, but on the internet

I don't really have a great understanding of Japanese internet culture, but as a Korean, I'm guessing it would be quite similar to ours in terms of "formality," as both Korean and Japanese have ...
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3answers
2k views

How to convert verbs from polite form to dictionary form?

Does anyone have a good rule for converting to dictionary (u)form from masu form regarding the different verb groups? Most websites start with dictionary and go to masu but I learned starting with ...
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2answers
517 views

Polite or casual?

Is this sentence polite or casual? Or even better. Is it correct to use this casual type of sentences inside another more polite? This is the sentence: 時間がなかったからパーティーに行きませんでした。 Wouldn't it be ...
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165 views

Is 何歳ですか polite? [duplicate]

何歳ですか (なんさいですか) - How old are you? Is it usual for Japanese to ask each other how old they are, and if it is, how do they go about and ask it? Is there a polite way to ask, or do you not ask this at ...
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47 views

Only 〜ます in ending verb vs. 〜ませんでした [duplicate]

As I understand, 〜ます should only be used in the ending verb while others inside the sentence should be in basic form. How come, then, that the polite past negative tense is made using 〜ませんでした, which ...
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1answer
432 views

Respectful way to say “policeman”

Let's say I want to call a policeman, or I am in a n-person conversation involving a policeman and I want a word to refer to the policeman. And let's say I want a respectful word. I believe おまわりさん ...
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1answer
367 views

How do you politely and gratefully reply to an invitation to be published?

Is there a set phrase for politely replying to an invitation to have your academic paper published as a journal article? I presented a paper at a Japanese academic conference, and I've received an ...
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1answer
363 views

Politely asking to stay at someone's home? お邪魔させてもらう、泊めてもらう、or 滞在させてもらう?

Which of the following is the most polite? Is any of them incorrect? Is there a more standard way to ask someone if you could stay with them while in town? ~ 8日から9日まで、あなたのお宅にお邪魔させてもらえませんか。 ~ ...
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312 views

Is おつかれさん “correct” Japanese to address to someone of lower status?

I have noticed in various environments that some people will sometimes, when speaking to someone of lower status, say おつかれさん instead of お疲れ様. Similarly one might here ご苦労さん instead of ご苦労様. I've ...
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187 views

Why does the waiter use past tense here

When I was trying to order a set meal in the restaurant, the waiter said Aランチのほうでよろしかったでしょうか I am not sure why the past tense よろしかった is used here, I personally would say Aランチのほうでよろしいでしょうか ...
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1answer
676 views

How impolite is it to call a waitress お姉{ねえ}さん?

Were I in a situation where I want to get the attention of a waitress in a noisy restaurant, I kind of feel like calling-out: "お姉{ねえ}さん、すみませんが、ビールもう一本お願いできますか?". I think that I've seen this done in a ...
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1k views

How would you say “if you don't mind my asking”?

This is something that is often said in English to politely ask a question while avoiding sounding overly intrusive. For example, What do you do for a living, if you don't mind my asking? The ...
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1answer
844 views

Addressing strangers without knowing the name

How does one address a stranger in a casual conversation when name is unknown? For example, I had a conversation with an older Japanese lady and I wanted to compliment her on her English (but in ...
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1answer
317 views

Usage and meaning of とのことです

I see this often in business emails, I guess it is not very important in terms of meaning but I couldn't find any post on stackexchange about it. What does とのことです add to a sentence? Here is the ...
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1answer
240 views

“Ungrammatical” 丁寧語 used by tour guides and museum narrators

I noticed on my trip to Japan that tour guides in museums etc use a very interesting type of language. It seems to be used almost exclusively by people in Osaka and Kyoto. There are two features that ...
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256 views

Why do Japanese businessmen use 「さん」 even with うち names in meetings with foreigners

I noticed that many Japanese businessmen tend to address the colleagues they are traveling with, or even introduce themselves as ◯◯◯さん. This would clearly be a faux-pas in a Japanese-only meeting, yet ...
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299 views

The use of passive voice to describe the Emperor's activities

The Imperial Palace gardens were opened to the public recently to celebrate the Emperor's 80th birthday. Can someone confirm the use of the passive voice in the following sentence on the subject in ...
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1answer
1k views

What to say at the cash register in the convenience store

I just came back from Japan, it is my first time, so I found myself in the situations, that I wasn't prepared for. At the convenience store I noticed natives tend not to say much to the staff at all, ...
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1answer
143 views

Questions about `〜はる` 敬語

One thing I've never fully gotten a grasp on is the 〜はる form of "敬語", and I have some questions about it. Is it official 敬語 recognized by the 文部省, or is it just more of a regionally accepted ...
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2answers
177 views

Dropping ーさん when referring to someone humbly with 謙譲語

Why aren't we referring to Yamada as Yamada-san in the following sentences taken from the answer to a recent question (which took them from site at: http://www.e-hoki.com/column/current/68.html) ...
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1answer
180 views

Is 拝見いたしました an example of 二重敬語?

二重敬語 is presumably considered bad style (or simply incorrect). I hear/read 拝見いたしました all the time. Is it an example of 二重敬語? I understood 二重敬語 to be a little more complex than "used a polite form ...
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4answers
973 views

Is telling a superior, “電子メールを見てくださいました,” correct?

Imagine wanting to tell a superior something along the lines of, "I saw/read/received your e-mail." In Japanese, there's sometimes something with using the te form along with words like くださる and もらう ...
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3answers
7k views

How to say “no thank you, I don't want / need it”?

Sometimes I am offered something but because I'm just a beginner I don't know what verb they used. I know the proper way to say "no" is to answer with the negative form of the verb the other person ...
3
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2answers
1k views

How to refuse an invitation with a specific reason?

It is commonly taught that the polite way to refuse an invitation is "ちょっと。。。" However, how do you refuse an invitation, while giving a reason? For example, would it still be considered polite to say ...
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1answer
142 views

Adding でしょうか to ます to further emphasize doubt and politeness?

Let's use できる as an example. できる (I) can do (it)/possible (action/event). できるか? Can do?/Possible? できますか? Can do?/Possible? (polite) Believe it or not, できますか? still sounds too direct to me. Now ...